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Direct Results of Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Living a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to weight gain for several reasons.Your lifestyle is a direct reflection of your weight. Ever looked at old pictures of yourself and wished to be that size again? Did you excuse the weight gain as a part of aging? Yes, aging plays a role in slowing down your metabolism, but a sedentary life will lead to weight gain.

Think back to the person you were in those old pics. What were you doing daily? I know in my younger days I played sports and marched in the marching band. I was constantly active. The older I got the less I did and the weight came flooding in. Now I workout almost daily and my weight is managed. I could stand to lose 10-15lbs but that’s another post for another day. But, is this making sense? What you do, or don’t do, daily affects your weight.

Let’s talk about five key factors a sedentary lifestyle has on your weight.

1. Reduced Caloric Expenditure: When you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you burn fewer calories than someone who is physically active. Activities such as sitting at a desk for long hours, watching TV, or using the computer for extended periods result in a lower overall daily energy expenditure. This can lead to weight gain if your calorie intake remains the same.

2. Slower Metabolism: Regular physical activity helps boost your metabolism by increasing your muscle mass and improving your body's ability to burn calories efficiently. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle loss and a slower metabolism, making it easier for your body to store excess calories as fat. As you age your metabolism becomes slower. Double whammy!

3. Increased Caloric Intake: People often engage in mindless snacking or consume larger portion sizes while sedentary, especially when watching TV or working at a computer. This can lead to an excess intake of calories, which can contribute to weight gain over time. Practice mindfulness when eating. And if you’re thinking, “but I don’t eat a lot. I just snack often” consider tracking the calories of those snacks. They probably have way too many calories in them.

4. Hormonal Changes: Physical activity plays a role in regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism, such as insulin and leptin. A sedentary lifestyle can disrupt the balance of these hormones, leading to increased hunger and a greater likelihood of overeating.

5. Muscle Loss: When you don't use your muscles through physical activity, you can experience muscle atrophy or loss. Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue, so a reduction in muscle mass can further slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain. Don’t be afraid to lift weights.

It's important to note that a sedentary lifestyle can also have adverse effects on overall health beyond weight gain, including increased risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and poor mental health. To mitigate the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on weight and health, it's essential to incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, even if it's in small, manageable increments like walking, stretching, or standing up and moving around regularly during periods of prolonged sitting. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet and monitoring calorie intake can help prevent weight gain in a sedentary lifestyle.

If you don’t know where to start, start by getting off the couch during commercials and walk in place. Progress from doing it during commercials to doing it through an entire TV show. After you’ve successfully walked through an entire show try walking during a movie.

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